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Full text of "The Cambridge Natural History"

358                          SPECIES OF RIGHT WHALES                        CHAp^
"beast, moreover, appears to be fierce, a somewhat rare attribute
of Whales. It has been spoken of, indeed, as " a cunning,
courageous, and vicious " animal. Hhojchianectes is essentially a
coast Whale, and loves to lie in the surf in quite shallow water
waiting for the tide to float it off. This Whale varies much in
colour from black to mottled grey and black, and reaches a length
of about 40 feet.
Fam. 2. Balaenidae.— The Eight Whales of the genus
Bolaena are to be distinguished from Neobalaena and from
the Rorquals by the following characters:—
The size is large, 50 to 60 feet. There is no dorsal fin. The
head is more than or nearly one-fourth of the entire length of
the animal The baleen is very long. The throat is not grooved.
The orbital process of the frontal is not wider than the down-
ward process of the maxilla. The cervical vertebrae are all
fused. The scapula is rather high. The hind-limb has the
rudiment of a tibia. The intestine has no caecum.
A vast number of different- genera have been founded on
detached bones, bits of whalebone, and more or less complete
skeletons of Bight Whales coming from different parts of the
world. In Dr. G-ray's catalogues we find the following allowed,
viz. JScdcLena,) J^ibbalaena,, Sunteri'Ms, Caper ea, M^acleayius. The
number of " species" distributed among the genera is some
thirteen or more, with whose names we shall not trouble the
reader. As a matter of fact there are not more than two species
which can with certainty be identified and distinguished, both of
which are so close that they cannot possibly be placed but in
the same genus, JSalaena. In no group of Whales—in no group
of animals probably—has imagination run riot to so terrible an
extent in the formation of genera and species as in these Bight
Whalea This multiplication or rather division of genera has
arisen from an old idea that Whales coming from different seas
must be of different kinds, a notion now thoroughly exploded.
The term " Bight Whale ** simply means that the Whales of
this genus are the right kind of Whale for the whaler to pursue.
Their whalebone is longer and more valuable, while the oil is
not only more abundant but of a superior quality. The two
species demand a separate account.
The Greenland Whale, J&xlaena, mysticetus, is one of the rare
instances of a Whale which has an exceedingly limited range in